By Dennis Mead
|I guess it's time to introduce myself since I've been poking around the forum for the last couple of weeks to see what you guys are up to. My name is Dennis Mead and I make my living as an Engineer/ Product- Designer/ Jack of All Trades/ Gear Head Tinkerer and a lot of et-cetera.|
For the last 10 years or so I've been designing instruments for doing genetic analysis at Perkin-Elmer Corp., Applied Biosystems Div., out in the San Francisco area. I work with AutoCad quite a bit and have a fairly well provisioned machine shop out in the garage. Yes, we have not had a car in the garage in the past 30 years because of the too many hobbies that I have.
I have a restored 1913 Stroud Duo-Art (upright) that I bought around 1974 (restored with Bilon and Polyon). and it's still going strong with the original leather pouches! Perhaps it's the good Aeolian leather and California weather that keeps things on good shape. I also have a little Apollo-65 note Vorsetzer-type pumper languishing in the garage awaiting some TLC.
My first experience with mechanical musical instruments was in 1948 at the Chicago Railroad Fair. I was eight years old then and I don't remember much about the "new" diesel locomotives being featured; I was much more interested in the steam locomotives with all their wonderful linkages, pumps, levers, smells and sounds. While we were walking over to one of the new diesels, we passed a display of all types of orchestrions, nickelodeons, etc. One of the orchestrions started to play and I was mesmerized -- hooked for good. I remember my aunt dragging me away from that place to see something else, and I was angry with her for years after.
When I was 15 years old (of course I was interested in cars) I was in love with Model A Fords at the time and I had lined up a fully restored '28 2-door sedan for $125.00, and my parents wouldn't let me buy it! Instead, they had located a decrepit old player piano along with some Duo-Art rolls and gave it to me for my birthday to restore (this was a 1913 Aeolian).
Well, I was disappointed in not getting the car of my dreams, but was happy about the piano. About 6 months later I had it working, even with the kind of naive craftsmanship that I had at the time. I used stretched-out bicycle inner-tubes for the missing return springs on the foot pedals. Years later I re-did the whole piano properly. Also, about the same time, I got to see a Duo-Art in a concert grand, and I said to myself, "I gotta have one of these things someday."
Shortly after I moved to California in 1973, I happened across a news- paper ad for a Duo-Art, and with maniacal intent I ran to the bank and pulled out a lot of cash and *bought that sucker on the spot!* I then proceeded to order a bunch of re-cuts from the Powell's to add to my small collection of original rolls. Was I in Heaven??
It was at this time that I learned more about re-cuts and got to thinking about building a reader/punch combination in order to resurrect some of my old rolls which were torn, ratty and unplayable. (Only the good ones get torn and ratty, right?)
So, since about 1974 to the present, off and on, I've been accumulating information, resources, materials, parts, and looking at rolls, sketching ideas, making drawings and tinkering out some ideas for a perforator, and thinking a lot about many of the more non-trivial problems involved with this endeavor. My perforator project has grown very sporadically between getting married and raising a family, but I do have some hardware built and have written some software to go with it. But then, that is another story which I hope to share in further postings.
I must say that discovering this forum on the net has certainly gotten my juices going again -- motivation to get my perforator up and working. We need more _good_ perforators !!!
More Later, Dennis
P.S. This forum is really outstanding, well thought-out and organized. The editing and moderating by Robbie and Jody is top notch. (And all the rest of you guys out there know it). If it were not for your efforts we wouldn't have this thing at all. Maintaining this forum takes a lot of your time and we all appreciate it. Let's keep to the business of problem sharing and solving and helping out each other. ONWARD!
[ Welcome to "rolls", Dennis! Indeed, there is a need for perforators,
[ especially for the formats other than 9/inch piano rolls. Please tell
[ us more about your project sometime. -- Robbie
(Message sent Wed 12 Feb 1997, 03:46:04 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)